MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Governor Ahmed Alkholifey said the cash shortage that squeezed the country's commercial lenders last year has now come to an end and that the central bank does not see a need to take further measures to boost banking liquidity, Bloomberg News reports.
* Arab National Bank reported fourth-quarter 2016 net profit of 565.1 million riyals, down 4.93% from 594.4 million riyals in the same period a year earlier, which the bank attributed to an increase in total operating expenses by 6.6%, which mainly stemmed from the increase in impairment charges for credit losses.
* Saudi British Bank posted fourth-quarter 2016 net profit of 607 million riyals, down from 939 million riyals in the year-ago period. Full-year 2016 net profit fell year over year to 3.90 billion riyals from 4.33 billion riyals.
* Alawwal Bank, formerly Saudi Hollandi Bank, said it received local regulatory approval Jan. 18 to set up a fully owned subsidiary in the Cayman Islands for its derivatives trading and repo activities.
* The United Arab Emirates' finance ministry is in talks with the country's central bank regarding the public debt law, Al-Ittihad writes, citing Younis Haji al-Khoori, undersecretary of the ministry. The public debt law is set to allow the federal government to issue bonds in UAE dirhams and also allows the central bank to issue short terms bonds on behalf of the federal government. Al-Khoori also said that the law will allow the launch of government bonds market in the UAE.
* BBK B.S.C. said the company has set up an investment company in London.
* Warba Insurance Co. K.S.C.P. said it appointed Boston Consultants Group to help it with its restructuring plan.
* Sudan's central bank signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development for a $500 million deposit, Reuters writes, citing state news agency SUNA.
* U.K. lender Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc has rejected attempts by the British government, which owns 71% of the bank, to persuade it into facilitating trade deals with Iran, including clearing services for Iranian lenders in pounds, insiders tell Reuters. An RBS executive said the bank is "not really interested in the Middle East" and is focusing on the U.K. and Ireland, where it gets about 90% of its profits.
* The IMF expects Egypt's foreign debt to reach $102.4 billion by the end of fiscal year 2020/2021 following the implementation of reforms, Daily News Egypt reports. This will equate to a quarter of total GDP.
* Egypt is considering temporarily reintroducing a stamp duty on stock market transactions that was suspended in 2014, Reuters says.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* FirstRand Ltd. Chairman Laurie Dippenaar said deal opportunities in Nigeria are cropping up as the country struggles with the decline in oil prices and devaluation of the naira, Bloomberg News writes. Dippenaar said the bank would prefer acquiring a company with a big branch network, though it is not likely to purchase any of Nigeria's biggest lenders.
* Wema Bank Plc named Ademola Adebise deputy managing director of the bank, in charge of overseeing the lender's corporate and business directorate. Adebise previously served as executive director in charge of corporate and south directorate.
* The Bank of Ghana is poised to set the new minimum capital requirement for banks at 200 million cedis or 300 million cedis, insiders tell Joy Business.
* Togo announced a preliminary agreement for a new 10-year $238 million loan with the IMF, Jeune Afrique reports.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Banco Económico SA, created from the failed Banco Espírito Santo Angola, ended 2015 with a €57 million net profit, consolidating a positive transition after the state intervention in BESA, Jornal de Negócios reports. It is the first accounting report presented by the bank, formally established in October 2014.
* Afriland First Bank is opening a subsidiary in Burkina Faso, according to its president Paul Fokam, Financial Afrik reports. The bank is Cameroon's largest, and present at the moment in seven other countries.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Indonesia holds benchmark rate; Lloyd's India branch gets regulatory nod
Europe: Credit Suisse settles with US, warns on Q4'16; London set for financial exodus
Latin America: Zurich Brasil merges insurance segments; S&P affirms Colombia
North America: Signature Bank ups provision by 33%; BB&T records penny hit to EPS from M&A
North America Insurance: Anthem extends Cigna deal's termination date; OneBeacon Insurance exploring sale
Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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